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Grocon Headquarters
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Grocon Headquarters

Location:
Melbourne
Type:
Office
Year:
2007
Architect:
Hassell
Project Manager:
Grocon Constructions
Photographer:
Shannon McGrath

For the last twenty years they have resided on the outskirts of the city they have helped build. They now live in a HASSELL interior that is a contemporary response to their public image, internal needs, strong heritage and desire to represent their future values. It seems there is more than one side to Grocon - and to HASSELL's design.

Now located in the heart of the city, Grocon's new headquarters occupy a small corner of the OV, a recent Grocon development renowned for its collaborative de­sign process and mixed use. The site was designated retail space, had minimal natural lighting, with services which were inadequate for an office environment. Nonetheless, they still aspired to achieve a six-star Green Star interior rating. So HASSELL had a complex set of existing conditions and functional requirements to deal with, prompting a clever and considered response.

Entering the Grocon Headquarters is like discovering an intriguing staircase off a Melbourne laneway. Referencing the familiar grid in an illuminated wall, and in keeping with the OV, HASSELL's design brings urban material and pattern to the interior. The reception is a showcase of Grocon's history. Separating the public and private zones, a locally sourced bluestone floor folds up to become a cranking steel wall and a dynamic built line. All signs so far are very 'Melbourne'.

To one side of this wall, light-coloured plantation timber veneer, simple detailing and warm rich tones define the public meeting areas and a traditional, yet comfort­able and inviting client environment. To the other side is the private workspace, bright in appearance with high ceilings, its lay-out is strongly driven by existing conditions. These two sides are linked by the staff hub, an informal gathering space for staff and visitors alike. Designed around a large communal table and of warm and friendly hues, it fosters Grocon's strong family ­oriented values.

Since natural light fell predominately along the Lonsdale Street facade, workspaces were located here to allow the majority of people to be within eight metres of natural light and there is a false floor through the work area for an underfloor displacement mechanical system. Workstations and task chairs are specified for recyclable properties and no synthetic fabrics are u There are minimal laminates, low-VOC paints, sensor lights and plenty of plants to enhance indoor air quality just a few of the sustainable features that anticipate I the Green Star rating.

When exiting the Grocon Headquarters and confronted by the shopping mayhem that embodies OV, you are left with the refreshing insight that behind the big Grocon banners is a contemporary and progressive, humble office that quietly ticks away as it shapes the skyline of Melbourne.

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